But if not Van Rompuy who? Well, tucked up nicely on the rails is the Dutch PM Jan Peter Balkenende. He is from an EPP member party, a crucial qualification. As the PM of a small country he’s acceptable to the other small European countries but he gets on with Sarkozy and Merkel likes him too — noting that he speaks very good German. The Brits and the other countries that want to go slow are reassured by the fact that as PM when the Dutch rejected the EU Constitution he understands the limits that public opinion places on the European project. All in all, he’s acceptable to everyone even if he isn’t many countries’ first choice — and for a job that will be decided by consensus, everyone is keen to avoid a divisive vote, that’s a pretty good place to be.